“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Bradenton in Manatee County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)

Courthouse Square

Courthouse Square Marker Side 1 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, December 24, 2016
1. Courthouse Square Marker Side 1
Inscription.  (side 1)
In 1892, John Crews Pelot deeded this 200 x 400 square foot parcel of land to Manatee County for the sum of $200.00. The land was cleared at a cost of $62.50, and a new courthouse, the first in "Braidentown" and the county's third county seat was built. The first county seat was the village of Manatee and the first courthouse which was constructed in 1860 may be seen in the Manatee Village Historical Park. Pine Level, now in DeSoto County, became the second county seat in 1866. That courthouse, a small log structure, was once classified as "Florida's worst" and has since been destroyed.

After "Braidentown" became the county seat, court was temporarily held in the E.M. Graham house (later known as Gaar House) on Bradenton's Old Main Street and in Judge Cornwell's old school house. Later, the first permanent courthouse, a wooden structure, was built. While this courthouse was in use, a small brick building was built on the property's west side to house the clerk's office and the jail. This was the site of the first county hanging in 1905.

The present courthouse building was begun in early 1913. The single
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courthouse and jail facility cost $97,443, and was built of reinforced concrete and brick by Falls City Construction Company.
See other side
(side 2)
Continued from other side
The building originally had a cupola on the roof which was removed in 1920 when general repairs were undertaken.

Two large steel cells were added to the jail in 1918, and in 1925 the first major addition was made to the building. The need for more space was again recognized in 1954 when a significant addition was made by extending the building to the south. In 1975, the Board of County Commissioners voted to hire an architect to design a new annex and jail. This multi-storied structure, located on property purchased east of the courthouse square, was completed in 1984. It was dedicated as the Hensley Public Safety Complex in honor of Judge Robert E. Hessley of the Twelfth Circuit Court.

For many years, there was a fountain and a pool at the north entrance to the courthouse which contained live alligators. It was replaced by a wishing well. Th north side of the square has been set aside for monuments honoring Confederate Veterans, Vietnam War dead, Hernando De Soto, and the footprints of Manatee County's distinguished citizens who are selected annually.
Erected 1984
Courthouse Square Marker Side 2 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, December 24, 2016
2. Courthouse Square Marker Side 2
by The Manatee County Historical Commission in Cooperation with the Board of County Commissioners.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Government & Politics. A significant historical year for this entry is 1892.
Location. 27° 29.72′ N, 82° 34.384′ W. Marker is in Bradenton, Florida, in Manatee County. Marker is on Manatee Avenue West (State Road 64) just west of 11th Street West, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1115 Manatee Ave W, Bradenton FL 34205, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Honorable R.B. "Chips" Shore Courthouse Grounds (within shouting distance of this marker); Bealls Centennial (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Florida Highway Patrol School (about 800 feet away); First Presbyterian Church of Bradenton (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Carnegie Library (approx. 0.2 miles away); Bradenton General Hospital (approx. ¼ mile away); Bradentown Depot (approx. 0.4 miles away); Major Adams Cemetery (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bradenton.
Courthouse Square Marker and old courthouse image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, December 24, 2016
3. Courthouse Square Marker and old courthouse
Credits. This page was last revised on January 19, 2017. It was originally submitted on January 18, 2017, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. This page has been viewed 725 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 18, 2017, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 13, 2024